I have a sense of adventure that has grown in me over the years. I love to travel, to see new things, unusual places. Fortunately our livelihood enables my husband and I to go to places that many others do not have a chance to experience. And, although I am not an athletic person, I do like to explore the USA within the confines of my physical abilities. I pretty much know my limits: my bad neck, my bad lower back – mostly problems with discs. I don’t push it too much, but I also don’t like to sit back on the sidelines either. So, I look for adventures that I believe that I can handle and those that lead me to feel a sense of accomplishment. Like hiking in the Smokey Mountains, into the Grand Canyon, to waterfalls, and climbing a mountain.
Mind you, I’ve only hiked up one mountain to the top (I’m not counting the trail to the top of Chimney Top mountain in the Smokies) and not a large mountain at that. But, make it to the top I did, and up on top of that mountain on a hot day, the breezes helped to cool me down. I marveled at just how far I could see, and how quiet the area was way up at the top. City noises faded away as I stood there examining scenery that stretched for miles and miles, all full 360 degrees. I marveled at the sheer beauty that God designed into our world. It was peaceful up there, away from the hustle and bustle of confines of everyday life. But, all too soon, it was time to begin my descent from way up and back to reality.
Mountain top experiences can exhilarate us, and it seems to me that we don’t often get the chance to linger long on the top of that extraordinary vista. The climb up the mountain requires focus and determination. It’s work to get to the top. We get to the top and if you are like me, perhaps you believe that anything is possible while you’re up there at the top. And, too soon we have to come back down to “the real world,” where challenges and complications await us.
Back down, “in the real world,” we have limited vision. And soon we are engulfed with the everyday problems of life. We’re confronted with our reality. We begin to doubt and question. It’s a dichotomy of feelings and beliefs between the mountain top and the valley below. We are much like the father who asks Jesus to heal his son in Mark 9:14-29. We believe that God can do it, but we also have doubts that God will do whatever it is that we are asking. “And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24, ESV)
Many times in the Bible we are told of those miracles that Jesus performed. So many times He heals those who are lame, sick, blind, deaf. Some are healed on faith alone. Some are healed by a touch of the Savior. Some have doubts. However, they approach Jesus, with hope and the realization that He can do those things which those of us in the world are unable to do. We know this, the Bible demonstrates the tremendous power that happens when we have faith in God. Yet we, like the father of the mute boy, doubt. We dwell in unbelief, and we mix it into the equation of our faith. Why?
The question of unbelief perplexes me. Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism on our part, we fear that God won’t give us that which we are seeking. Perhaps it’s the enemy’s attempts at constantly chipping away at our hope and faith, knowing that an eroding base decreases our footing on the trail. Perhaps it’s laziness, as we get tired of the climb. Perhaps it’s despair as we focus on the wrong things.
Fortunately for us, even when we doubt and dwell in unbelief, God is still God. He recognizes our weak nature. He understands our limitations. He accepts us as we are. He loves us, even when we have unbelief. If we ask, with sincere wishes for His will in our lives, and not with selfish ambitions, God listens, and God grants.
Lord, thank you for the mountain top experiences that buoy our faith, for those respites that provide us a glimpse of your grandeur. Help us to take those moments, those assurances from you, into account while facing the trials that come our way. Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief!